Sharada Corridor: Pak-Controlled Kashmir Assembly Unanimously OKs To Connect Sharada Peeth With J&K

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah lit a beacon of hope for Kashmiri Pandits when he recently said in Parliament that Sharada Peetha/Peeth, illegally occupied by Pakistan, would come back to Kashmiris.

Later, the Legislative Assembly of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir passed a unanimous resolution demanding that the Sharada Corridor from Sharada to Kashmir Valley should be opened.

Will we then see the establishment of the Sharada Peetha Corridor?

The Legend

“Namastey Sharada Devi Kashmira Pura Vasini Tvam Ham Prartheye Nityam Vidya Danam Che De hi Mahi. (Salutations to you, O Sharada, O Goddess, O one who resides in Kashmir. I pray to you daily; please give me the charity of knowledge).”

This is a prayer that Kashmiri Pandits recite as part of their daily worship to pay obeisance to Goddess Sharada, commonly known as Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge.

However, the revered shrine of their Kuldevi (principal deity) – Sharada Peeth – now lies abandoned in the Neelam (Krishnaganga) valley under Pakistan’s illegal occupation since 1947.

According to Mahatma (geographical narrative of ancient Kashmir social and religious sites), the sage Shandilya practiced austerities to obtain the sight of the Goddess Sharada, who is the embodiment of Shakti (supreme energy).

At Ghosha (present village ‘Gushi), the Goddess appeared and promised to show herself in her true form (Shakti) in the Sharada forest. The Goddess vanishes from his sight at Hayasirsasasrama (present-day Hayhom), situated about 4 miles to the Northeast of Gushi.

The Sage next proceeded to the Krishanganga (Neelam of Pakistanis) to take a bath. Thereupon, half his body becomes golden, emblematic of his approach to complete liberation from darkness. The Naga (spring) is situated above the village of Drang, also known as Son-Drang. It is this appellation that the Mahatmya wishes to reproduce by calling the place of Sage’s miraculous transformation ‘Suvarnardhangaka.’

From thence, Shandilya ascends the mountain range to the north, on which he sees a dance of Goddesses in a forest called Rangavati (Rangvor), immediately below the pass by which the route leading from Drang towards the Ktishanganga crosses the watershed.

He then passes the Gostambhana forest, i.e., the Marg Gthamman, and arrives at Tejavana, Gautama’s residence on the bank of the Krishnganga. The Mahatmaya describes, at some length, the sacred character of the latter place, which is identical to Tehjan (Thagain), a small hamlet on the left bank of the Krishanganga.

The mention of this confluence leaves no doubt as to where the Mahatmaya places the site sacred to Sharada. Sindhu can be meant only the Krishanganga, which, as in Kalhana’s days, is still locally known merely as ‘Sind,’ the river.

Madhumati is the name that local tradition gives to this day to the stream that joins the Krishanganga at Shardi from the south. The temple at Sharada is believed to be one of the fifty-one  Shakti-peethas in Kashmir. It is believed that the right hand of Shiva’s consort Sati had fallen here.


Besides being a famous temple whose construction resembles that of Martand in Kashmir valley, Sharada Peeth, as can be understood from the name, became a great center of ancient Hindu learning. Scholars from far and wide —- as far as Gandhara (Kandahar) to its west and Trigarta (Himachal) to its east — seekers of knowledge flocked to this great seat of learning of ancient Kashmir. Jonaraja, in the early 15th century CE, said that Adi Shankaracharya and later Sultan Zainul Abidin (Bud Shah CE 1450), the ruler of Kashmir, both had visited Sharada. to pay obeisance to the Goddess.

Locals Of Shardi 

Reports coming from various reliable sources say that even after conversion to the Islamic faith, the local people of Shardi and its adjoining inhabited areas have usually shown respect and regard to the shrine, which has collapsed owing to age and the vicissitudes or weather or human mind.

However, as per the revenue records, it is reported that hardly 1.5 acres of land on which the ruins of the temple are still visible stand in the name of the shrine out of a total of about  75 acres.

The broad opinion is that after the cease-fire on midnight of December 31, 1948, the shrine did not face much damage at the hands of the rogues because the locals would not allow that to happen owing to a strong sense of nostalgia.

But what was calamitous for this famous Hindu shrine or the great seat of learning, was the high-handedness of the terrorists raised by Pakistan’s ISI, who were deeply indoctrinated with anti-Hindu hatred and tried to make it a station in their clandestine march for infiltration into Kashmir. It is they who are reported to have induced the locals to grab the land and destroy the temple further.

We also received reports that the Muslim population of Shardi and adjoining villages often confronted the armed infiltrators and obstructed them using Shardi as the taking off-site for crossing over to Kashmir valley. This is further proved by the deep-seated anti-Pakistan demonstrations that are rampant in the PoK called Azad Kashmir.

Sharada Peeth is located in the village of Sharada in Pak-controlled Kashmir. It is situated near the Line of Control, which divides Pakistan-administered Kashmir from Jammu and Kashmir. Via: Wikipedia

Himalayan Blunder

The hindsight of Kashmir history tells us that if Nehru had not taken away the Kashmir portfolio from his Home Minister, the history of J&K would have been very different.

Under pressure from the then British Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee, a “close friend of Nehru,” the Indian Prime Minister succumbed and agreed to sign the ceasefire agreement with Pakistan against the wishes of his cabinet members, army chief, and local commander, General Thimayya.

Nehru, the half-idealist and “half-baked socialist” (to borrow the phrase from Dr N.N Raina), did not understand that Attlee and Mountbatten were busy tying up the loose ends of Curzon’s “Great Game” strategy in Central Asia.

In Moscow, those who did not agree with Stalin’s characterization of Nehru (“the running dog of British imperialism”) had to eat the humble pie when they came to know that the days when Nehru signed the ceasefire agreement with Pakistan was a day and a night of great revelry at 10 Downing Street in London.

The British colonial power was very uneasy about the Indian army poised to capture Muzaffarabad and, with that, the entire Krishnaganga Valley.

This would have blocked the British strategists’ approach to Gilgit, where they wanted to check the southward move of communist ideology. Attlee had won the day when Nehru informed him of his yes to a ceasefire.

Reversing The Phenomenon

In response to a question, the Home Minister recently said in Parliament that Sharada Peetha, illegally occupied by Pakistan, will come back to Kashmiris.

Hours after this statement, the Legislative Assembly of PoK in Muzaffarabad passed a unanimous resolution demanding that the Sharada Corridor from Sharada to Kashmir Valley be opened, as it was the right of the PoK people to connect to their brethren in the valley.

Kashmiri Pandits, who have been demanding the restoration of Sharada Peetha for a long time, have welcomed both developments, viz., the statement of the Home Minister and the resolution of the PoK Assembly. They argue that if it was found feasible to have the Kartarpur Corridor, why not Sharada Peeth Corridor by the same token?

It has to be recalled that Pakistan regimes have normally recognized that Sharada is a holy shrine of Kashmiri Hindus and that pilgrims desiring to visit it should not be obstructed.

Pakistan’s government even ordered some repairs to the shrine. Pakistan’s polity is almost favourably disposed towards the idea that pilgrims have the least restrictions in visiting the shrine. But the matter has not been discussed by official delegations so far.

We are aware that serious obstruction to the creation of Shad Corridor comes from the Pakistani secret agency ISI and the rabid terrorist-jihadist the organization has created and patronized. These jihadists have even threatened the local population of Neelam Valley for obstructing their search for a secret crossing via Neelam Valley.

Pakistan’s agreement to create the Sharada Corridor would be a big step in building confidence and promoting people-to-people connectivity.

We should forget the negative role that the people of PoK played in fomenting terrorism in Kashmir by raising organizations like KLF or JKLF.

We must remember that the PoK Diaspora in London, especially in the towns of Yorkshire, Birmingham, and Luton, fell into the trap of ISI, which told them that if they lent their financial, molar, and logistic support to Kashmir jihad, the valley would be captured and they (PoK) diaspora in foreign countries would become the kings of Kashmir.